Who We Are

The Hall of Flame

Wisconsin Roots

George F. Getz, Jr. founded the Hall of Flame in 1961. He organized the National Historical Fire Foundation as a 501(c)(3) non profit organization to promote the programs of a museum which he named the Hall of Flame.

Mr. Getz began to collect fire apparatus after the Christmas 1955 present of a 1924 American LaFrance fire engine from his wife, Olive Atwater Getz.

The couple were fascinated by the rig, and Mr. Getz began to collect apparatus of all types from all over the world.

Upon Mr. Getz’ passing in 1992, Mr. Getz’ son Bert, and his two sons Bert Jr. and George continued to serve as members of the NHFF board of trustees, with George serving as President.

The Getz family strongly supports the goals of the Foundation, which are three:

The collection, preservation and exhibit of objects relating to the history of firefighting;


fire safety education


The recognition of firefighters who have died in the line of duty or who have been recognized for acts of heroism.

George and Olive Getz at their estate in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 1956 with the Hall of Flame’s first accession – a 1924 Type 12 American La France fire engine from Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
George Getz at the wheel of his 1924 American La France engine from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with a group of children in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in 1956.
The Hall of Flame was in Kenosha, Wisconsin from 1967 through 1970.

The Hall of Flame

Historic Video:

The Hall of Flame

NHFF Board of Trustees

George F. Getz

Bert A. Getz, Sr.

Bert Getz Jr.

The Hall of Flame


In 1961 the collection was large enough for exhibit in a small museum in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, near the Getz summer home.

A few years later, the Hall of Flame moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where it remained until 1970. In that year the Getz family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, and Mr. Getz decided to move the Hall of Flame as well.

In 1974 the Hall of Flame opened its present building in Phoenix’s Papago Park, adjacent to the Phoenix Zoo and Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

The Hall has grown from its original single gallery to five exhibit galleries, the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes, the museum store, a theater, a restoration shop, a collection storage building, and administrative offices.

The Hall’s present size is 70,000 square feet, with 35,000 square feet of exhibit galleries. The collection has grown to over 130 wheeled pieces and thousands of smaller artifacts.

The galleries contain a wide variety of exhibits, including fire apparatus, artwork, uniforms and equipment, firemarks, alarm room equipment, and a large fire safety exhibit which includes a two room safety house, a mini-theater, and many hands-on exhibits for children.

In 1998 the museum opened the National Firefighting Hall of Heroes. In this gallery we honor American firefighters who have received a national award for heroism, and we also recognize American firefighters who have died in the line of duty.

The Hall of Flame Museum has a membership of over 400 individuals, fire departments, and companies, who receive a wide variety of benefits in exchange for their membership fees. Please see the Membership Page on this site.

For information on the museum’s hours and location, see the Plan Your Visit page.